Daily Essentials

What’s in Your Bag, Karen Schroyer?

Though Karen Schroyer’s job as a U.S. Forest Service district ranger requires ample administrative duties, it also brings a more agreeable sort of office time.

By Michael Miracle May 1, 2014 Published in the Summer 2014 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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As of early February, when she joined the Aspen/Sopris District after two years in Utah’s Dixie National Forest, that might mean planning a redesign of Avalanche Campground near Redstone or assessing the Smuggler/Hunter Creek area for trail redesign and habitat improvement. On those and her many other days even further afield, Schroyer walks well-prepared.

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1. The bag: Schroyer’s ORTOVOX is “small enough to discourage overpacking.” - 2. Even on hot days, temps can drop enough for GLOVES and a HAT. - 3. BAGGIE and TOILET PAPER: carrying everything out is the Leave No Trace ethic. - 4. Her WATER BOTTLE rule: “Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink.” -5. The FIRST AID KIT is for minor scrapes and pains. - 6. High-energy foods—like the LARABAR and CUTIE—help keep her warm. - 7. A BLACK DIAMOND HEADLAMP: It’s always possible to get caught out overnight. - 8. A KEEN WALLET holds her insurance card, ID, and cash for a cold one on the way home. - 9. Colorado is awash in sunshine all summer. So, yeah: SUNGLASSES. - 10. A WHISTLE draws attention just in case she’s lost and can spook bears when necessary. - 11. She never wants to use her EMERGENCY BLANKET, but she knows how: “Get it over you before you’re wet.” - 12. Plant-based BUG REPELLENT is easier on the skin. - 13. Carrying a COMPASS and a MAP: good. Knowing how to use them: better. - 14. The Leave No Trace ethics card: “Learn it. Live it,” Schroyer says. - 15. SUNSCREEN: Duh! - 16. GERBER MULTI-TOOL. No.1 implement: knife. No. 2: corkscrew. Not pictured: a good pinot noir. - 17. The CELL PHONE is mostly for taking great photos. - 18. HANDWARMERS: not just for winter. - 19. A WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST HAT “shields the sun and warms my heart.” Awwww. - 20. PLASTIC BAG for her garbage—or anyone else’s. - 21. Another put-it-on-before-you-get-wet item: the SHELL. - 22. HAND SANITIZER, her backcountry sink. - 23. Good ol’ CHAPSTICK. - 24. DUCT TAPE can deal with “blisters, broken pack straps, your hiking partner who won’t shut up.”

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